21 votes

If you could give advice to anyone who is ten years younger than you or when they were ten years younger than now, what would you tell them?

(This thread is a rehash of this thread, with the difference that you can give advice to any non-public figure you want from 10 years ago too, regardless of how old they are.)


(Also assuming they take you seriously, interpret it correctly, don't forget it immediately, don't cause a butterfly effect for doing so, etc...)


Advice for any generic 5-year old:

  • If you don't know already, learn to write.

  • If you don't know already, learn to read. (Neither of these are likely in most places but whatever.)

  • If your parents tell you to not talk to strangers, what they mean by that is "don't talk to adults, unknown people who offer you things (which rarely happens anyway, lol) or people minding their own business." Most importantly, none of these apply to you current, or future classmates. Talk to them about things you might share in common.

(I would also include something about how watching children's cartoons are a utter waste of time but I have no replacement for those and I suspect only their parents would.)

Advice for me, 10 years ago:

  • Pay attention to your future school material to make sure you don't lose it and call your teacher and interrupt class for everyone else.

  • Some people will be very rude to you. You should probably tell your mom about it when you're home so she can tell the school staff about it. (You won't have time to tell your school staff unless you want to say that in fron of the people who will be rude to you. Also I have no clue if the staff will do anything about it.)

  • Crying will often attract those people to you and give them satisfaction, it's better to do it at home to your parents. (Also, those people shouldn't dictate the morality of crying.)

  • If you hear a word you don't know about from your classmates, it might refer to someone's genitals, particularly If it starts with X. (like a 5-year old would know what genitals are but anyway)

Some people will tell you or pressure you to do dumb things. ('Dumb' being needlessly harmful to others or humiliating to you.) Don't listen to them. (I have no clue how they will react to this however.)

To my mother, 10 years ago:

  • In the future, it will be unanimous consensus that you should track everything your child does on the internet until they're a teenager and not have them spend more than like, 2 hours there. I'm not kidding about this.

  • This is the ideal time to introduce your child to chores apparently.

  • Telling your child to not talk to strangers will be a mistake, because your child will also assume 'strangers' to be his classmates, which is bad for obvious reasons. By 'strangers' you mean "adults, unknown people who offer you things (Have you ever seem this happen? Serious question.) or people minding their own business."

  • Your child being autistic will mean your child will need more elaborate explanations for following social norms than most people.

  • Children can often have their mouths not grow enough, and lack room for teeth to organize themselves properly. This will happen to your child, and if you wait too long, your child will have terrible teeth and need to use braces and palatal expanders to fix it, like your husband.

(I would probably also include something about my grandma dying of cancer, but my mom has never had problems with spending time with her parents so it's not really advice.)

26 comments

  1. [5]
    MonkeyPants
    Link
    I thought way too much about this when I had my first child. I wrote up all the advice I would want the little nibblet to have (in case I carked it) and after catching some Zzzzs and after...

    I thought way too much about this when I had my first child.

    I wrote up all the advice I would want the little nibblet to have (in case I carked it) and after catching some Zzzzs and after reviewing this incredibly long list I realized the list was not only incredibly dull, but also totally useless.

    I've never, in my entire life, thought "Gee, I am so glad I gave that advice."

    Advice is typically ignored.

    If advice is followed and works out well, you get no credit.

    If advice is followed and bad things happen, you get all the blame.

    There is also significant amounts of advice already out there.

    You can probably think of thousands of quotes, sayings, cliches...

    I figured, the difference between knowledge and wisdom is one of personal experience.

    So I go with stories. I tell my kid stories from my past and present. I figure stories are a shared experience of sorts. Lately I have run out of new stories that have an obvious point and I started scraping the bottom of the barrel.

    For instance, that time someone on reddit was asking for moderators, and was brutally honest that it was a thankless job, you didn't get paid for it, and would live to regret it. It's a bad sales pitch (or maybe a good one, I sure remembered it.)

    Then I net out what I think a good sales pitch is.

    Then we practice a good sales pitch on his mum.

    Instead of asking for a handheld mixer and explaining the features of the mixer he wanted, he started off with saying he wanted to bake more delicious cookies, but in order to do that more easily and often he would need a handheld mixer....

    I'll tell one more story, to illustrate my point. The friends that I still visit after a number of decades, are the friends I made at Uni. I still have contact details for some high school friends, I also have contact details from work friends, but it is the friends I made at University that really stayed tried and true. Plus a few friends who I made when I was new to the USA, who curiously had never been to University.

    So that is my advice. If you are going to give advice, be sneaky and make it seem like not-advice.

    8 votes
    1. [2]
      teaearlgraycold
      Link Parent
      I’m actually not sure what point you’re trying to make with that story.

      I'll tell one more story, to illustrate my point.

      I’m actually not sure what point you’re trying to make with that story.

      4 votes
      1. MonkeyPants
        Link Parent
        Go to Uni. Spend a year in the dorms. Make friends. Keep in contact with them. (It gets harder to make friends as you get older.)

        Go to Uni. Spend a year in the dorms. Make friends. Keep in contact with them. (It gets harder to make friends as you get older.)

        5 votes
    2. [2]
      joplin
      Link Parent
      I always hated when my parents did this. I could never understand the point they were trying to make, whereas if they just told me, I would have at least understood even if I disagreed.

      So I go with stories. I tell my kid stories from my past and present. I figure stories are a shared experience of sorts.

      I always hated when my parents did this. I could never understand the point they were trying to make, whereas if they just told me, I would have at least understood even if I disagreed.

      1 vote
      1. Eabryt
        Link Parent
        That's why I'm just going to tell my kids that there's no point to my story, it's just an awesome story that no one else will listen to.

        That's why I'm just going to tell my kids that there's no point to my story, it's just an awesome story that no one else will listen to.

        3 votes
  2. Adys
    Link
    Work on your body. Not a ton, but don't ignore it completely either. The habits required to build up a healthy body take years to assimilate. Just... Eat a bit healthier, find a sport you like...

    Work on your body. Not a ton, but don't ignore it completely either.

    The habits required to build up a healthy body take years to assimilate. Just... Eat a bit healthier, find a sport you like (keep searching if you haven't found one yet), and dedicate some real time to it.

    The longer you wait to do this, the more difficult and long it will be to fix once you eventually do come to terms with it.

    8 votes
  3. [2]
    highsomatic
    Link
    To past me: Learning how to talk to people and staying in touch is more important than getting perfect grades. Your grades aren't a guarantee of anything, but high ones will make it easier to...

    To past me:

    • Learning how to talk to people and staying in touch is more important than getting perfect grades.
    • Your grades aren't a guarantee of anything, but high ones will make it easier to learn in the future so still, don't disregard academic achievement.
    • Learn how to say no. Just because a girl is attracted to you doesn't mean you need to automatically capitalize on the opportunity if you're not attracted to her. Your level of satisfaction is also important.
    • Forget about medicine. There are easier ways to get a boat.
    • Take up music lessons, it's not late at all
    • Nobody's looking at you, get over it.
    • You have a procrastination problem, right now it's not affecting you yet, but if you start doing something about it, hopefully it never will. Organizing your tasks makes things so much easier. Think about it, sooner or later, like it or not, you're going to have to do it. So just get on with it.
    • Don't pick a side when your parents decide to divorce no matter what.
    • Learn to pick your battles: you don't have to correct every mistake you see others are committing. Only do it if you care enough about the other person, and if you think the mistake can harm them in the future if you don't intervene, otherwise, don't care.
    6 votes
    1. Omnicrola
      Link Parent
      Oof, if I had to narrow it down to a single item to tell myself, I'd struggle between these two.
      • Learn how to say no.
      • Nobody's looking at you, get over it.

      Oof, if I had to narrow it down to a single item to tell myself, I'd struggle between these two.

      6 votes
  4. [5]
    mrbig
    (edited )
    Link
    "Half of your relationships with women don't need to happen and you're better off alone (at least for a while). You'll hurt people you shouldn't be hurting, and will suffer things that won't teach...

    "Half of your relationships with women don't need to happen and you're better off alone (at least for a while). You'll hurt people you shouldn't be hurting, and will suffer things that won't teach you anything. Here's a short list of names and locations to avoid. Just stay home and masturbate.

    Maybe put a little more effort with the remaining ones. They're probably worth it. IDK."

    4 votes
    1. [4]
      Adys
      Link Parent
      Did you really have that many relationships that you didn't grow and learn from? I'm all for avoiding toxic people but I can't think of a single girl or guy I've dated which I didn't learn from....

      Did you really have that many relationships that you didn't grow and learn from?

      I'm all for avoiding toxic people but I can't think of a single girl or guy I've dated which I didn't learn from. I've had shitty relationships, I've had awful ones, toxic ones, but I learned from all of them and they make me, i believe, a pretty good person today -- someone whose shoes I'm happy to fill.

      And i don't think I'm particularly lucky; in fact I've had pretty lousy luck overall on that front. But half just seems like a big number.

      3 votes
      1. [3]
        mrbig
        Link Parent
        Dude, I had a lot of relationships. A lot :P

        Dude, I had a lot of relationships. A lot :P

        1 vote
        1. [2]
          Adys
          Link Parent
          I wouldn't mind if you elaborated on what you did learn, then. If it's not too private to share :)

          I wouldn't mind if you elaborated on what you did learn, then. If it's not too private to share :)

          3 votes
          1. mrbig
            (edited )
            Link Parent
            I repeated a lot of situations that did not add anything new to me, only renewing old grievances. That is what I mean by a relationship that don't teach anything new. Romantic entanglements that...

            I repeated a lot of situations that did not add anything new to me, only renewing old grievances. That is what I mean by a relationship that don't teach anything new.

            Romantic entanglements that could be erased from the past without any loss.

            There are also situations that teach you things that are wrong and must be corrected.

            The one thing I never learned was how to be comfortable by myself.

            What I learned? Enough to make it hard to sum up. I don't think my emotional development would be complete without relationships. I was a borderline psychopath before my first girlfriend.

            2 votes
  5. [2]
    teaearlgraycold
    Link
    There are a lot of simple and straightforward tokens of wisdom that I heard many times without internalizing them. I'm sure I absorbed some advice easily enough, but I like being contradictory. I...

    There are a lot of simple and straightforward tokens of wisdom that I heard many times without internalizing them. I'm sure I absorbed some advice easily enough, but I like being contradictory. I like being cynical. I don't want to do something just because it's common advice. Maybe others are like this, or maybe this is mostly my problem. Ironically, I'm a pretty normal person. I get caught up in most cultural events just like everyone else.

    So whatever advice I'd give to a younger version of myself or a younger person would be based around building the means to find your own advice. The best words that come to mind are:

    "Go out there. Do something. Anything. Just make sure it's what you want to do and you feel like you're going forward."

    4 votes
    1. Adys
      Link Parent
      There is a Coursera course which touches on this subject kind of. It's called Learning How To Learn. I've heard from everyone who's ever taken it that it's worth taking.

      There is a Coursera course which touches on this subject kind of. It's called Learning How To Learn. I've heard from everyone who's ever taken it that it's worth taking.

      1 vote
  6. papasquat
    Link
    Advice to myself 10 years ago: Don't get married to her. She turned out to be an extremely horrible person who only showed her true colors in the end. You can do much better, and even if you...

    Advice to myself 10 years ago:

    Don't get married to her. She turned out to be an extremely horrible person who only showed her true colors in the end. You can do much better, and even if you don't, you're better off alone.

    Keep working on your certifications. Stop fucking with your hair, and start taking hair loss shit now. Be more consistent with the gym. All of the false starts are basically doing nothing for you.

    Advice for others: Concentrate on your physical fitness. Your body is a machine, and it deserves to be cared for and maintained if you want it to perform for you.
    Get enough sleep, and maintain a consistent sleep schedule. It's one of the most crucial things for mental health.
    Don't hold on to things, both physical and metaphysical. Objects just tend to accumulate and most of them aren't useful. Feelings as well. Holding on to anger, pain, and sadness is useless. Accept them and move past them.

    4 votes
  7. ChuckS
    Link
    Hang out with Grampa, he's only got a couple years left. Eat more vegetables. Give running a shot (you'll love it, I promise!), but never run barefoot, even if you DO forget your running shoes.

    Hang out with Grampa, he's only got a couple years left.

    Eat more vegetables.

    Give running a shot (you'll love it, I promise!), but never run barefoot, even if you DO forget your running shoes.

    4 votes
  8. [3]
    joplin
    Link
    At my age "10 years younger" is barely different from where I am now. I'd mostly tell myself, "stay the course, it's only going to get better." Now 20 years ago me, I might have more to say. Part...

    At my age "10 years younger" is barely different from where I am now. I'd mostly tell myself, "stay the course, it's only going to get better."

    Now 20 years ago me, I might have more to say. Part of me would want to tell 20 years ago me that the business isn't going to work out. It's not going to fail, but it will never amount to much. But the thing is, if I didn't run my business, I wouldn't have gotten my current job which has worked out very well. It's interesting, it more than pays the bills, and it brought me someplace I love.

    I'd also tell 20 years ago me to stop wasting time talking to your family (that is parents and brothers). They're toxic and you should move on. I kind of already knew it by that time but was keeping up appearances because I thought it was the right thing to do. I know now that it wasn't.

    3 votes
    1. [2]
      Adys
      Link Parent
      Do you think you've stopped learning, if you've stopped making enough mistakes to recall?

      At my age "10 years younger" is barely different from where I am now.

      Do you think you've stopped learning, if you've stopped making enough mistakes to recall?

      1 vote
      1. joplin
        Link Parent
        Not by a long shot. I'm still learning plenty, and I still make mistakes. However, the mistakes tend to be more contained and smaller. Some of it is probably because I no longer feel like I need...

        Not by a long shot. I'm still learning plenty, and I still make mistakes. However, the mistakes tend to be more contained and smaller. Some of it is probably because I no longer feel like I need to prove anything to anyone, so I'm not constantly trying to outdo myself. Some of it is probably because I'm less concerned about how I look when I make a mistake. And a lot of it is because making mistakes is how you learn and grow, so if I told myself not to make some of them, I wouldn't have gotten this far. I'd say the mistakes I'm making today feel much less stupid than the mistakes I made in the past.

        2 votes
  9. Pistos
    (edited )
    Link
    I'd take the job that offered less money, fewer bonuses, and fewer perks if it were a job that made me more happy, and where I'd get to work with nicer colleagues. Being right doesn't grant you a...
    • I'd take the job that offered less money, fewer bonuses, and fewer perks if it were a job that made me more happy, and where I'd get to work with nicer colleagues.
    • Being right doesn't grant you a licence to be an asshole.
    • Natural talent is rarely enough. Excellence comes from hard work and dedication.
    • What you find attractive is not always what will make you truly happy.
    • To check if you're taking someone for granted, imagine them gone.
    • Explore religion and spirituality (including lack of), and make well-reasoned decisions about such things. Stay open minded, but don't be too quick to believe what you read.
    • There's "the way you want it", and "the way it is". Peace comes the more those are the same; but, to get that, sometimes you have to change what you are willing to accept, rather than try to change the way things are.
    3 votes
  10. georgebcrawford
    Link
    If you're going to be hungover, you might as well get paid for it.

    If you're going to be hungover, you might as well get paid for it.

    3 votes
  11. [3]
    culturedleftfoot
    Link
    Advice for me - go find the best competition you can and play way more soccer. Advice for others would ideally be tailored to the individual, but one generally useful bit of advice would be -...

    Advice for me - go find the best competition you can and play way more soccer.

    Advice for others would ideally be tailored to the individual, but one generally useful bit of advice would be - learn how to be comfortable in solitude. I'd accompany it with Pascal 's quote: "All of humanity's problems stem from man's inability to sit quietly in a room alone."

    2 votes
    1. [2]
      teaearlgraycold
      Link Parent
      As someone that does very well in a room alone, I'm curious what this means to other people. Is the idea that people are best off isolating themselves from everyone else?

      All of humanity's problems stem from man's inability to sit quietly in a room alone.

      As someone that does very well in a room alone, I'm curious what this means to other people. Is the idea that people are best off isolating themselves from everyone else?

      2 votes
      1. culturedleftfoot
        Link Parent
        It's not just the alone piece, it's the sitting quietly piece too. I've always understood it to essentially mean that we mostly don't resist our lizard brain impulses well enough to grow. Solitude...

        It's not just the alone piece, it's the sitting quietly piece too. I've always understood it to essentially mean that we mostly don't resist our lizard brain impulses well enough to grow. Solitude isn't necessarily desirable in and of itself, but in small, regular doses it at least forces you to deal with yourself. See buddhism, meditation, etc.

        2 votes
  12. cfabbro
    (edited )
    Link
    Not my own advice, but instead from a hypothetical commencement speech written by Mary Schmich for the Chicago Tribune titled 'Advice, like youth, probably just wasted on the young' (AKA 'Wear...

    Not my own advice, but instead from a hypothetical commencement speech written by Mary Schmich for the Chicago Tribune titled 'Advice, like youth, probably just wasted on the young' (AKA 'Wear Sunscreen'), that has stuck with me all these years. There is even an amazing reading of it, directed by Baz Luhrmann, that aired on VH1 back in the day that I highly recommend watching:

    Everybody's Free (To Wear Sunscreen)

    And here's the text of it, for those who prefer reading it themselves:

    Ladies and gentlemen of the class of ’99:

    Wear sunscreen.

    If I could offer you only one tip for the future, sunscreen would be it. The long-term benefits of sunscreen have been proved by scientists, whereas the rest of my advice has no basis more reliable than my own meandering experience. I will dispense this advice now.

    Enjoy the power and beauty of your youth. Oh, never mind. You will not understand the power and beauty of your youth until they’ve faded. But trust me, in 20 years, you’ll look back at photos of yourself and recall in a way you can’t grasp now how much possibility lay before you and how fabulous you really looked. You are not as fat as you imagine.

    Don’t worry about the future. Or worry, but know that worrying is as effective as trying to solve an algebra equation by chewing bubble gum. The real troubles in your life are apt to be things that never crossed your worried mind, the kind that blindside you at 4 pm on some idle Tuesday.

    Do one thing every day that scares you.

    Sing.

    Don’t be reckless with other people’s hearts. Don’t put up with people who are reckless with yours.

    Floss.

    Don’t waste your time on jealousy. Sometimes you’re ahead, sometimes you’re behind. The race is long and, in the end, it’s only with yourself.

    Remember compliments you receive. Forget the insults. If you succeed in doing this, tell me how.

    Keep your old love letters. Throw away your old bank statements.

    Stretch.

    Don’t feel guilty if you don’t know what you want to do with your life. The most interesting people I know didn’t know at 22 what they wanted to do with their lives. Some of the most interesting 40-year-olds I know still don’t.

    Get plenty of calcium. Be kind to your knees. You’ll miss them when they’re gone.

    Maybe you’ll marry, maybe you won’t. Maybe you’ll have children, maybe you won’t. Maybe you’ll divorce at 40, maybe you’ll dance the funky chicken on your 75th wedding anniversary. Whatever you do, don’t congratulate yourself too much, or berate yourself either. Your choices are half chance. So are everybody else’s.

    Enjoy your body. Use it every way you can. Don’t be afraid of it or of what other people think of it. It’s the greatest instrument you’ll ever own.

    Dance, even if you have nowhere to do it but your living room.

    Read the directions, even if you don’t follow them.

    Do not read beauty magazines. They will only make you feel ugly.

    Get to know your parents. You never know when they’ll be gone for good. Be nice to your siblings. They’re your best link to your past and the people most likely to stick with you in the future.

    Understand that friends come and go, but with a precious few you should hold on. Work hard to bridge the gaps in geography and lifestyle, because the older you get, the more you need the people who knew you when you were young.

    Live in New York City once, but leave before it makes you hard. Live in Northern California once, but leave before it makes you soft. Travel.

    Accept certain inalienable truths: Prices will rise. Politicians will philander. You, too, will get old. And when you do, you’ll fantasize that when you were young, prices were reasonable, politicians were noble, and children respected their elders.

    Respect your elders.

    Don’t expect anyone else to support you. Maybe you have a trust fund. Maybe you’ll have a wealthy spouse. But you never know when either one might run out.

    Don’t mess too much with your hair or by the time you’re 40 it will look 85.

    Be careful whose advice you buy, but be patient with those who supply it. Advice is a form of nostalgia. Dispensing it is a way of fishing the past from the disposal, wiping it off, painting over the ugly parts and recycling it for more than it’s worth.

    But trust me on the sunscreen.

    "Be kind to your knees. You’ll miss them when they’re gone." hits especially close to home for me too, and I wish I had taken that more to heart. I used to do taekwondo, BJJ, skiing, snowboarding, rollerblading, and live a pretty active lifestyle overall... but I simply can't do most of that anymore thanks to how badly I fucked my knees up over the years (including tearing my LCL). :(

    And the other advice I really want to highlight is this line:

    Live in New York City once, but leave before it makes you hard. Live in Northern California once, but leave before it makes you soft. Travel.

    The most fulfilling adventures in my life all took place while I was travelling, and living+working in other cities around the world. The only thing I regret is that I didn't travel even more when I was younger and more physically/mentally able to, since I still have quite a lot of places left on my bucket list! :)

    2 votes